Wealth and Discontent
If your sense of well-being fluctuates with stock market, you might be comforted to know that money can't buy you happiness anyway. In one American study conducted in 1993, level of income was shown to have an inverse relation to happiness: The group whose income had declined was happier overall than the group whose income had increased. A soon-to-be published review of the hundreds of studies on this subject supports the 1993 findings. In developed countries, the correlation between income and happiness is close to zero and sometimes negative. With a correlation between level of income and happiness somewhere between 0.12 and 0.18, the United States is near the bottom of the list; that, factors other than income are overwhelmingly more important in explaining happiness. Also, as our material wealth increases, the gap between income and satisfaction with life seems to be widening. Predictably, money has its most positive effect on the poor, but once a person has achieved a minimal standard of living level of income has almost nothing to do with happiness. Close relationship, rather than money, is the key to happiness. Indeed, the number of one's personal friends is a much better indicator of overall satisfaction with life than personal wealth. One stands a better chance of achieving a satisfying life by spending time with friends and family than by striving for higher income. Incidentally, in the US, as people become richer, the probability of divorce increases. Our need for companionship is partly biological. All primates respond with pleasure to demonstrations of affection and with pain to loss of companionship. Isolated monkeys will sacrifice food just for the glimpses of another monkey. By ignoring our biologically programmed need for each other, we risk physical and mental distress. A recent cross-national study of mental depression in the US found that in advanced countries, there is a rising tide of major depression. Teenage suicides have increased in recent decades in almost all advanced countries. Moreover, in the US since World War II, there has been an actual decline in the proportion of people who report themselves to be "very unhappy." You can easily test the claim that companionship exceeds wealth as a source of happiness. Ask yourself which has a greater influence on your satisfaction with life:your income or the affection of your intimate companions and the well-being of your children? Conversely, which would make you more depressed: a reduction in salary or a divorce and isolation from your friends? Capitalism succeeds in creating material riches, but it is less successful in building companionable societies and protecting family integrity. But developing countries still have much work to do in pursuing material wealth, where a rise in productivity still greatly increases happiness. For poorer countries, the time is not yet ripe for a shift in priorities from wealth accumulation to companionship. Can we afford to believe that the pursuit of material gain will lead to self-fulfillment? We should continue to enjoy our wealth in good company, or else we may find that it is not satisfying. 1. According to the 3rd paragraph, which of the following is true in developed countries? A) The more money one has, the unhappier he becomes.
B) Income and happiness are closely related. C) The richer one is, the happier he is. D) More money does not necessarily make one happier. 2. Which of the following statements best describes the situation in the US, according to the 1993 study? A) Most people think personal wealth can make them happy. B) Most people do not think wealth has much to do with happiness. C) Money is an important factor in making one happy. D) Happiness can only be explained in terms of income. 3. In the author's opinion, which of the following statements is NOT true? A) Wealth means differently to the poor and the rich. B) Money makes the poor and the rich equally happy. C) Money means less to a person as he achieves a higher standard of living. D) Money means more to the poor than to the rich. 4. According to the author, which of the following is most likely to share our biological need for companionship besides the monkey? A) A swallow. B) A pig. C) An ape. D) A dog. 5. Which of the following is the least likely cause of one's unhappiness in advanced countries? A) Loss of friends. B) Reduction of income. C) Death of a family member. D) Divorce.
The Operation of International Airlines
International airlines have rediscovered the business traveler, the man or woman who regularly jets from country to country as part of the job. This does not necessarily mean that airlines ever abandoned their business travelers. Instead, companies like Lufthansa and Swissair would right argue that they have always catered best for the executive class passengers. But many airlines could be accused of concentrating too heavily in the recent past on attracting passengers by volume, often at the expense of the regular traveler. Too often, they have seemed geared for quantity rather than quality. Operating a major airline is essentially a matter of finding the right mix of passengers. The airlines need to fill up the back end of their wide-bodied jets with low fare passengers, without forgetting that the front end should be filled with people who pay substantially more for their tickets. It is no coincidence that the two major airline bankruptcies were among the companies specializing in cheap flights. But low fares require consistently full aircraft to make flights economically viable, and in the recent recession the volume of traffic has not grown. Equally the large number of airlines jostling for the available passengers has created a huge excess of capacity. The net result of excess capacity and cut-throat competition driving down fares had been to push some airlines into collapse and leave many others hovering on the brink. Against this grim background, it is no surprise that airlines are turning increasingly towards the business travelers to improve their rates of return, They have invested much time and effort to establish exactly what the executive demands for sitting apart from the tourists. High on the list of priorities is punctuality; an executive's time is money. In-flight service is
another area where the airlines are jostling for the executive's attention. The free drinks and headsets and better food are all part of the lure. Another development has' been the accent of seating arrangements. Regular travelers have become well versed in the debate about seat pitch--the amount of room between each passenger. And first-class passengers are now offered sleeperette seats, which, for long journeys, make it possible to snatch a proper night's sleep. Sleeperettes have proved so popular that they will soon become universal in the front end of most aircraft. The airlines are also trying to improve things on the ground. Executive lounges are commonplace and intended to make the inevitable waiting between flights a little more bearable. Luggage handling is being improved. Regrettably, there is little the airlines can do to speed up the boring immigration and Customs process, which manages to upset and frustrate passengers of all classes in every continent. Although it is the airlines' intention to attract executive passengers from their rivals, the airlines themselves would nonetheless like to change one bad habit of this kind of traveler--the expensive habit of booking a flight and then failing to turn up. The practice is particularly widespread in Europe, where businessmen frequently book return journeys home one on several flights. 1. According to the passage, in operating airlines it is essential to A) keep in mind the need of the executives only. B) satisfy the need of the low fare passengers at the expense of the executives. C) try to attract as many passengers as possible by reducing fares. D) cater to the need of passengers sitting at both ends of the jets. 2. The following are all mentioned as reasons why the airlines are having a hard time EXCEPT that A) the tourist industry is experiencing an all-time low. B) there is no increase in the number of passengers. C) there are more seats on the planes than needed. D) the competition between airlines is strong. 3. The improvements the airlines attempt at include all the following EXCEPT A) making their seats more comfortable. B) providing better food during flights. C) showing more movies during the long flights. D) offering sleeperettes to first-class passengers. 4. There is not much the airlines can do when it comes to A) making sure the departures are not delayed. B) the efficient handling of luggage. C) speeding up customs procedure. D) the improvement of the condition of waiting lounges. 5. Which of the following is a bad habit of the executive passengers that frustrates the airlines? A) They do not book their seats in advance. B) They do not sit on the seats they are supposed to take. C) They do not travel on the flight they have booked. D) They do not pay in advance for the seats they book.
Too Little for Global Warming
Oil and gas will run out1 too fast for doomsday global warming scenarios to materialize, according to a controversial new analysis presented this week at the University of Uppsala in Sweden. The authors warn that all the fuel will be burnt before there is enough carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to realize predictions of melting ice caps and searing temperatures. Defending their predictions, scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change say they considered a range of estimates of oil and gas reserves, and point out that coal-burning could easily make up the shortfall. But all agree that burning coal would be even worse for the planet. The IPCC's predictions of global meltdown pushed forward the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, an agreement obliging signatory nations to cut CO2 emissions. The IPCC considered a range of future scenarios, from unlimited burning of fossil-fuels to a fast transition towards greener energy sources. But geologists Anders Sivertsson, Kjell Aleldett and Colin Campbell of Uppsala University say there is not enough oil and gas left even the most conservative of the 40 IPCC scenarios to come to pass. Although estimates of oil and gas reserves vary widely, the researchers are part of a growing group of experts who believe that oil supplies will peak as soon as 2010, and gas soon after. Their analysis suggests that oil and gas reserves combined amount to the equivalent of about 3,500 billion barrels of oil considerably less than the 5,000 billion barrels estimated in the most optimistic model envisaged by the IPCC. Even the average forecast of about 8,000 billion barrels is more than twice the Swedish estimate of the world's remaining reserves. Nebojsa Nakicenovic, an energy economist at the University of Vienna, Austria who headed the 80-strong IPCC team that produced the forecasts, says the panel's work still stands. He says they factored in a much broader and internationally accepted range of oil and gas estimates than the "conservative" Swedes. Even if oil and gas run out, "there's a huge amount of coal underground that could be exploited", he says that burning coal could make the IPCC scenarios come true, but points out that such a switch would be disastrous. Coal is dirtier than oil and gas and produces more CO2 for each unit of energy, as well as releasing large amounts of particulates. He says the latest analysis is a "shot across the bows'' for policy makers. 1. What do the authors of the new analysis presented at the University of Uppsala intend to say? A) The burning of coal will accelerate the arrival of Earth's doomsday. B) The oil reserves are big enough to materialize the doomsday scenarios. C) Melting ice caps and searing temperatures exist only in science fiction. D) Oil and gas will run out so fast that Earth's doomsday will never materialize. 2. Nations that signed the Kyoto Protocol agree to A) pay attention to global meltdown. B) cut CO2 emissions. C) use more green energy. D) stop using fossil fuels. 3. What are the estimates of the world's oil and gas reserves? A) 4,000 billion barrels by the average forecast. B) 8,000 billion barrels estimated by the Swedes. C) 3,500 barrels envisaged by IPCC. D) 3,500 billion by a growing number of scientists. 4. Which of the following about Nebojsa Nakicenovic is true?
A) He thinks fossil fuels are as dirty as oil and gas. B) He thinks green fuels will replace oil and gas eventually. C) He thinks IPCC's view on the world's oil reserves is too optimistic. D) He thinks that IPCC's estimates are more optimistic than the Swedes. 5. Which of the following is the near explanation of Nakicenovic's assertion that "... such a switch would be disastrous ..."? A) The IPCC scenarios would come true because burning coal will emit larger amounts of CO2. B) A switch to burning coal would produce disastrous environmental problems. C) Oil and gas to replace coal as fuel would speed up the process of global warming. D) A switch from the IPCC scenarios to the policymakers' ones would be disastrous.